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Bird news from Vietnam, from Vietnam's resident and visiting birders.

21 May 2012

Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler - Cuu Thac

"What the hell this Tây ba lô* is doing near my nest !"
(* Westerner with bagpack in Vietnamese, translation for those who are not living here!)

Yesterday I went to Cuu Thac-Tu Son (Hoa Binh province), not for bird watching but for chasing dragonflies - my favorite summer pastime.  It is difficult to focuse on both groups at the same time, but I always keep an `open ear` for birds. I brought with me the 400 mm lens to prevent this possible tragic situation : Greater Rufous-headed Parrotbills in front of me but only the 100 mm macro in the bag.. arghh..!

"Chim cút đi ! Chim cút đi !" 
(Get the f... out of here !)

Near the place where we saw Greater Rufous-headed Parrotbill & Collared Babblers few weeks ago, I flushed at very short distance a Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler. It flew not far, turned around me, insulted me copiously, so I guessed there was something special hidden somewhere (nest or chicks). Indeed, after a short search, I found a nest on the ground, on a big slope, within low (20 cm) grassy vegetation, only half-meter from the path ! An open-cup nest, rather deep, with 3 white eggs inside. Altitude : ca 500-550 m (a bit low for this montane species, isn't it ?)

Three hours later, on the way back, I flushed it again - no solution to avoid this, there is only one trail !

Other interesting species spotted : 1 noisy Green Magpie - I don`t know which one...



  1. Beautiful bird and nice record!


  2. Thanks Falk,
    let`s hope this pair will be successful !
    This part of the trail is not so busy. Probably nobody during the week, some groups of noisy teenagers the week-end...
    I keep my fingers crossed !


  3. Hello. I'll be in Hanoi in July for work and would love to go birdwatching for a day. Are there any guides in the area? Specific recommendations of where to go/to do? Thank you.

  4. Hi anonymous

    If you can provide an email address, we can chat re the birding here in Hanoi...


  5. Great photos Sebastian!

    The nest matches nicely with the description in the most recent Robson guide (2011), and as you suggest the elevation is rather low, it is given as 800-2,000 m in Robson - there's plenty of new things to discover about birds in Indochina!

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